Voting with Your Feet: Political Competition and Internal Migration in the United States

46 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2020

See all articles by Wai-Man Liu

Wai-Man Liu

Australian National University

Phong T. H. Ngo

Australian National University (ANU)

Date Written: August 13, 2020

Abstract

Do people “vote with their feet” in response to a lack of political competition? Since political competition is associated with higher growth and welfare, with the free movement of labour, we argue that it should also encourage inward migration. We test this hypothesis by using data from the US and find a strong positive relation between political competition and net migration. This result is robust to alternative specifications, alternative samples and addressing endogeneity using the Voting Rights Act to instrument for political competition. The effect is economically large, specifically, we find that an increase in political competition in the order of magnitude observed in US Southern states during the post-war period leads to an increase in net migration by between 27 and 44 individuals per 1000 population.

Keywords: political competition, internal migration, welfare, Voting Rights Act

JEL Classification: D72, J61, H70, N92

Suggested Citation

Liu, Wai-Man and Ngo, Phong T. H., Voting with Your Feet: Political Competition and Internal Migration in the United States (August 13, 2020). European Journal of Political Economy, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3673026

Wai-Man Liu (Contact Author)

Australian National University ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/about/staff-directory/?profile=Wai-Man%20(Raymond)-Liu

Phong T. H. Ngo

Australian National University (ANU) ( email )

RSFAS, College of Business and Economics
Australian National University
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia
+61 2 6125 1079 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://cbe.anu.edu.au/people/rsfas/phong-ngo/

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